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Young Harris College students present at medieval renaissance conference

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Students representing Young Harris College presented at the 36th University of Virginia-Wise Medieval Renaissance Conference, recently, speaking on a variety of research topics related to medieval and Renaissance periods.

Four current students and a recent alumna spoke at the academic conference in Wise, VA. Academic conferences are public gatherings of scholars based on disciplines – or fields of study – and often are a ground level for research scholarships.

“This event was significant because it gave our Young Harris students an opportunity to present on some facet of research that they are working on,” said Dr. Daniel Helbert, an assistant professor of English at Young Harris College. Helbert arranged and organized the trip for the students. “This, then, enables further conversation, networking, and ultimately publication of their research.”

The students – Allie Killer, Addisyn Clapp, Joel Whittingham, and Hannah Elliott – along with one alumna – Malia Little, ’23 presented essays on medieval and Early Modern literature.

  • Hannah Elliott: “Fruits, Flowers, and the Feminine Figure”
  • Joel Whittingham: “Sir Launfal and the Importance of Money”
  • Addisyn Clapp: “Aphra Behn’s ‘The Disappointment’ and Other Poems: We are Still Debating Women’s Bodies”
  • Allie Killer: “Thou Idol Ceremony: Kingship in Henry V”
  • Malia Little: “Gardening: Labor and Purpose in Paradise Lost”

“The UVA Wise Medieval Renaissance Conference was my first academic conference experience,” Hannah Elliot said. “Leading up to the conference, I was nervous about presenting, mostly due to not knowing what to expect. When we arrived at the conference, I quickly realized that it was a very supportive environment, and all of the attendees were genuinely interested in what everyone had to say. UVA Wise created a positive experience for me as a first-time attendee, and I would be open to presenting in more conferences in the future!”

The UVA conference is an annual conference that is based around a particular time period that many people research in – the medieval and Renaissance periods. The event is also interdisciplinary, meaning there were other English scholars as well as historians, art historians, and music historians.

“Presenting at the conference was an incredible experience, especially as a first-time undergraduate presenter,” said Allie Killer. “There were so many brilliant presentations to learn from, and the academic atmosphere was super approachable and supportive. It was empowering to be able to present alongside students from various schools, as well as scholars from a variety of disciplines.

“Through this conference, I gained confidence in presenting my work, especially in an academic environment. I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part in this conference, and for the support of Young Harris College which enabled me to attend.”

Malia Little agreed: “I am an English major and recent (’23) graduate of Young Harris. I enjoyed the UVA-Wise Conference and the experience of presenting at an academic conference that featured undergrad and post-grad presenters from many different schools. Especially as a recent graduate who is pursuing graduate school, it was a wonderful opportunity to not only attend, but also participate.”

Allisyn Clapp also appreciated the opportunity: “This was my first time presenting at an academic conference, and I was very nervous before and during my presentation. My anxieties about presenting were eased when I realized everyone at the conference was supportive and understanding. I am glad that I was able to get this experience especially since I believe it will benefit me as I apply and think about grad school. I would encourage other undergrad students to consider presenting their work at academic conferences especially if they are thinking about pursuing grad school.”

Conferences like this are often at the graduate level or higher, meaning the participants either have or are pursuing a graduate degree in the field.

“However, the UVA Wise Renaissance conference has a healthy undergraduate program every year as well. That’s what our YHC students were presenting in and why it was such a great opportunity,” Helbert said. “All the presentations were very well received by the academic community, and these young scholars represented Young Harris College very well.”

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science, and Technology; and Professional Studies. Approximately 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the Conference Carolinas. For more information, visit